Forget Henderson: error-prone enforcer is Liverpool’s greatest concern for Atletico tie – opinion

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Liverpool welcome Atletico Madrid to Anfield in the second leg of their last 16 tie in the Champions League on Wednesday. The holders will have to overturn a deficit to progress, having failed to score away from home in their 1-0 loss at the Wanda Metropolitano. Although much has been made of the potential boost a returning Jordan Henderson could bring to the side, the Merseyside outfit have more significant problems to concern themselves with as first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker will almost certainly miss the match due to a hip injury.

Adrian has twice featured in the Brazilian stopper’s place, and the results have been unconvincing so far against both Chelsea and A.F.C Bournemouth. Particularly against the Blues, the former West Ham United goalkeeper appeared incredibly rusty, first pushing a tame Willian shot into the ground and narrowly over the crossbar, before guiding the Brazilian’s equally soft next effort into his own net.

Liverpool failed to recover from the mistake and ended up losing the match 2-0. A repeat of that error against the two-time Champions League finalists under Diego Simeone would be incredibly costly, as an away goal for the Spanish side would leave Liverpool needing three to progress. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility, given that in the Premier League Adrian has conceded as many errors leading to goals this season, as he has clean sheets, two, from just 11 top-flight appearances. Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp’s usual stopper has kept ten clean sheets in 20 appearances in the Premier League this term, while not making a single error leading to the opposition scoring.

Against the Cherries Adrian was not entirely at fault for the opening goal; however, he did fail to mop up Joe Gomez’s mistake by allowing Bournemouth to play the ball across the box in front of him for a tap in.

The indecisive and inconsistent nature of Adrian’s display, as he later pulled off some stellar saves, will worry the Liverpool backline who have been the best in the Premier League this term conceding just 21 times. However, in only 11 appearances, ten of those strikes have beaten Adrian, and his presence between the sticks should be Liverpool’s greatest concern ahead of the crunch Atletico clash.

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